This morning I had breakfast with some colleagues from the Red Lion ministerium. We had set up this meeting because we had business we needed to discuss, but as we sat there, we realized that that conversation simply wasn’t going to happen. It wasn’t going to happen because one of our colleagues has had a horrendous summer. There’s been a lot of stress, a lot of loss, a lot of struggle, and we realized that our time together was so much more than business, it was a time to reconnect, check in, and support each other. When we were leaving, we stood outside and he looked at all of us and said, “Thanks for letting me just get real for a little while,” and then he paused before saying, “You know, I think that’s something we’re missing in the church…the ability to be real.”
It got me thinking…I think, sometimes, what he said is very, very, very true. I mean think about the age old adage of how you get ready for church, you put on “your Sunday best,” right? You put on your nice, shiny shoes. You put on a smile. You walk in the doors ready to greet God and your brothers and sisters with your best foot forward. But the thing is, how often is that REALLY how we feel on a Sunday morning? More often than not, you might be stressed or tired or struggling or just simply feeling like you don’t have the capability of smiling anymore. Sometimes you don’t feel shiny or new or ready for the morning. Sometimes the REAL you isn’t your Sunday best, but is your Monday morning worst, but you know what we’re failing to tell people? That that’s OK! That feeling like that, even when you walk into church on Sunday, is more than ok. That, honestly, if there’s anywhere you should be able to go and just be yourself, even if the version of yourself isn’t totally put together that morning, is church. We’ve lost the ability to be real. We think that we have to put our smiling faces on and just be OK because we’re in church and we’re surrounded by your brothers and sisters, and we need to present ourselves in the right light.
But here’s the thing…you don’t. You don’t have to be anything other than your most real, authentic self. That’s what God wants. That’s who God calls to come and follow. That’s whose voice God wants to hear praying and singing and hoping. YOU! No matter what you look like that day. No matter how you feel that day. No matter whether you’re struggling and stressed or whether you’re carefree and happy. Whoever you are, that is who you are called to be, especially within the four walls of your church home, surrounded by your church family. You don’t have to put up a front of shiny, happy, ok-ness. You don’t have to pretend. You’re allowed to be REAL. You’re allowed to be yourself. That’s who God loves. That’s who your brothers and sisters love. YOU! You, at your best and at your worst. You, in your Sunday best or in your weeknight sweatpants. YOU are loved. YOU are accepted. YOU are welcome. Let’s be real…together.
Peace it Together,